Before Jaws, there were no summer blockbusters. In 1975, all that changed with the film of a great white shark terrorizing tourists off the coast of Amity Island.
Today’s Wednesday Warriors is all about protecting the townsfolk from the dreaded watery beast. Martin Brody (Roy Scheider), the new chief of police is that protector.
Having recently moved from the city, Chief Brody wakes up in a town filled with people who want to make the beach their home until Labor Day. First day at work and everything seems to be going fine until Brody finds himself investigating the mysterious death of a girl whose body lies in tatters by the shore.
His first instinct is to pay a visit to the town’s general store to purchase art supplies for making signs to close the beach. But once the mayor (Murray Hamilton) hears of the news that the chief wants to shut the town’s life supply of tourist dollars, Brody gets an earful from the political echelon. Forcing the beach to remain open, he takes steps to prevent anything from happening again. He had already determined the girl died of a shark attack and he didn’t want any of that happening again. Not on Brody’s watch.
Joining Chief Brody on his quest to rid the coast of the great white is Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) from the Oceanographic Institute. Unlike those working with him, Hooper’s reluctance to participate in a lynch mob against the shark sets him apart to tell the chief they are dealing with a very large shark.
The story turns sinister when everybody, including Amity’s bar hopping crowd, wants to get in on the killing. They want the shark to pay for the death that it caused, regardless if their use of dynamite could kill anyone caught near the blast.
As for Brody, he’s stuck in the middle attempting to appease the general public that he’s doing everything he can to catch the monstrous horror brutalizing the town’s tourist season, and wresting control from an ignorant mayor who prefers to see progress rather than closure for the town.
When a little boy disappears in the water however, the chief has no one else to blame but himself. Despite the protests of the mayor and the town’s commercial sector, he closes the beach until further notice. He won’t be taking any more chances.
From there, he develops a friendship with Quint (Robert Shaw), the town’s voice of reason. Although Quint might not be the type of character Brody would normally associate with, Brody gains the courage to go out in the waters to hunt and kill the great white with Quint’s help.
And here is Brody’s greatest character trait. Frightened of the water, he doesn’t balk at the fact that he needs to face his problem. He embarks on Quint’s boat and takes it upon himself to forget his fears in order to fight the very thing that is causing Amity’s trials.
When Brody comes to realize his fear of the water is nothing in comparison to seeing the great white in person, he utters one of the most famous lines in the movie:
“We’re going to need a bigger boat.”
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Have you seen Jaws? What did you enjoy most about the film?